Changing my filter media

  1. wu718tang Member Member

    NOTE: I plan on getting a new, stronger filter very soon - when I originally bought the tank, I did not know much about GPH. However, I am due to change my filter media and I have a couple of questions. I currently have a 20g high with a Tetra Whisper EX30 HOB. I already know all about the importance of beneficial bacteria, but I was reading some of the other threads and I've seen people say that they cut off pieces of the old media and put it in the filter with their new cartridge. Is there a certain way to do this? Do I just cut off any piece of it, how big should it be, and where exactly should I place it inside of the filter housing? Also, if I am using this method, how often should I be changing the cartridge - I've seen a lot of conflicting opinions on this. Thanks in advance; I appreciate it!
  2. Dlondon95 Well Known Member Member

    How old is the cartridge you have now?
  3. kinezumi89 Fishlore VIP Member

    I have been told that you NEVER replace the filter media (assuming it is a sponge, foam, floss, etc) unless it is literally falling apart. Otherwise, all your hard work into cycling the tank will go in the garbage! The filter is where most of the bacteria live. If you have carbon in your filter (which many people do not use, except in certain cases, such as removing medication from the water), then that needs to be replaced.

    I have old filter media in my housing; there's extra room so I just sort of stuck it in there :) You need to be careful that there is still adequate flow through the area though, otherwise water will spill back out without being filtered.
  4. Dlondon95 Well Known Member Member


    Never go by the direction on the filter package that say to change the media every month or however long it says. Unless it's falling apart, it doesn't need to be replaced.
  5. dankylosaur Initiate Member

    I just cut the whole sponge part off and stuff it into the filter next to the new cartridge. Actually, I used to do that until I read that carbon is unnecessary most of the time. Now I just have filter sponge stuffed in my filter. If you remove the carbon from the cartridges you don't need to replace them until they start falling apart, but I've read that carbon needs to be swapped out every 3-4 weeks. If you opt to not replace the cartridges, you can just rinse them in tank water when they start blocking too much filter flow.
  6. xNick Member Member

    I would still advise replacing filter media that has become non-useful, however if you do, make sure you only change half at a time. This should allow the new media to be colonised.
  7. wu718tang Member Member

    Yeah, I have read not to listen to the package's instructions and do not, but wasn't sure if that applied to the carbon filters, which is why I'm asking. I currently have a carbon cartridge in there, and it's been about 3-4 months since I've changed it. I didn't realize carbon was so frowned upon - why exactly? So if I want to get rid of it, what should I get? Are the Tetra "bio bags" considered sponge, foam, etc?? And when I do change it out, should I take the carbon out of the old one and then just cut off a piece of the outside casing to include with the new media?
  8. dankylosaur Initiate Member

  9. kinezumi89 Fishlore VIP Member

    I'm not familiar with the filter media for that model, but if it's one of the "pouch" style, you can just make a small incision and dump the carbon out, retaining all of the bacteria-laden media. Carbon does stop working after awhile, but (someone correct me if I'm wrong) I don't believe it's actually harmful to have old carbon in a tank.
  10. Lexi03 Well Known Member Member

    If your filter taks the bio bags that have the plastic strip with a clip on top you can take the clip off, open the strip up and pull it out of the pouch. Then dump the carbon out, and replace it with freash loose carbon or a piece of bio media such as a foam or the little bio tubes for aquaclear filters. Then re assemble the bag.

    I do not use carbon all the time because I see no differance with or without it. I have a jar of the loose stuff on hand should I need to remove meds from a tank, otherwise I think it is a unneeded hassle and expence.